Sotheby's Inaugural Auction in Mumbai: Results
Sotheby’s Inaugural Auction in Mumbai Totals INR 55.40 crores / US$ 7.9 million
Led by Tyeb Mehta’s Goddess Durga INR 20.49 crores / US$ 2.9 million
And Amrita Sher-Gil’s ‘The Little Girl in Blue’ INR 18.69 crores / US$ 2.7 million A Record Price for the Artist in India
A Record for any Modern Indian sculpture Established by Sadanand Bakre
More than a third of participating clients new to Sotheby’s
29 November 2018 – Boundless India, Sotheby’s inaugural auction in Mumbai achieved a total of INR 55.40 crores / US$ 7.9 million today, led by seminal works by Tyeb Mehta and Amrita Sher-Gil. Over 75% of sold lots achieved prices above their pre-sale high estimates.
The top price of the evening was Tyeb Mehta’s Durga Mahisasura Mardini which sold for INR 20.49 crores / US$ 2.9 million, reflecting the strong market for the artist in recent months. The painting had remained in the same private collection ever since it was commissioned directly from the artist in 1993.
Strong competition for Amrita Sher-Gil’s The Little Girl in Blue drove the painting to sell over the high estimate for INR 18.69 crores / US$ 2.7 million – a record price for the artist in India (lot 12, INR 8.50-12.50 crores / US$ 1.2-1.7 million). This is only the seventh oil painting by the artist to be offered anywhere in the world. The work had remained in the same collection for 80 years, since it was selected by the artist for her first solo show in 1937. Earlier in the sale, a second work by Sher-Gil, a work on paper created by the artist when she was just 10 years old, made INR 52,50,000 / $75,075 (lot 11, est. INR 15,00,000-25,00,000/ US$ 20,400-34,00)
Edward Gibbs, Sotheby’s Chairman for the Middle East and India, said: “This is a milestone moment for Sotheby’s; the realisation of a vision we have been planning for many years. Tonight’s sale reflects Sotheby’s continued commitment to the South Asian market and our South Asian clients going forward. The enthusiasm that we have seen for the sale and for our supporting exhibitions in Delhi and Mumbai, stands us in very good stead for the future.”
Yamini Mehta, Sotheby’s International Head of Indian and South Asian Art, said “Tonight’s results are a vote of confidence for the South Asian art market, with significant new records and benchmarks achieved across many different artists and genres. Our offering included some of the most significant works to come to the market by two of the most beloved Indian artists of the 20th century, Tyeb Mehta and Amrita Sher-Gil. Both had remained in the same collections ever since they were painted, and they have gone to wonderful new homes this evening. The sale has enabled us to connect with scores of new and existing clients, and at the same time really deepen our understanding of the market here. We look forward to planning our next steps in the region.”
One of the most important sculptures created in modern India, an untitled 1950s bronze by Sadanand Bakre, achieved a record price for any 20th century Indian sculpture at INR 1.88 crores / US$ 268,125 (lot 28, INR 40,00,000-60,00,000 / $54,500-82,000).
Men Sitting, Men Standing by one of India’s greatest living artists, Arpita Singh, also sold over the high estimate for INR 1.88 crores / US$ 268,125 (lot 39, est. INR 1.20–1.80 crores / US$164,000-245,000).
Francis Newton Souza’s Untitled (St Paul’s Cathedral) from 1961 soared over estimate to INR 1.88 crores / US$ 269,125 (lot 22, est. INR 90,00,000 – 1,10,00,000 / US$ 123,00-150,000). His apocalyptic approach was influenced by the post-war angst felt by many British-based artists of the time.
Records set this evening:
New world auction records for:
B.V. Doshi (lot 2, INR 13,75,000 / US$ 19,662), Krishna Reddy (lot 20, INR 10,62,500 / US$ 15,194) Sadanand Bakre (lot 28, as above), Piraji Sagara (lot 35, INR 18,75,000 / US$ 26,812), Sunil Gawde (lot 51, INR 21,25,000 / US$ 30,388 )
New auction records for India:
Prodosh Das Gupta (lots 9 and 10, both INR 21,25,000/ US$ 30,388 ) Amrita Sher-Gil (lot 12, as above), Mohan Samant (lot 25, INR 43,75,000 / US$ 62,562), Zarina Hashmi (lot 27, INR 37,50,000 / US$ 53,625); Adi M. Davierwalla (lot 31, INR 70,00,000 / $US 100,100).
New Benchmarks for artists never before offered at auction:
Nargis Wadia (lot 40, INR 10,00,000 / US$ 14,300), Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Laxman (lot 42, INR 687,500 / US$ 9,831).
Artists offered at auction for the first time in India:
Louis Isidore Kahn (lot 6, INR 5,25,000 /US$ 7,508),